Leipzig is one of the most popular destinations for city breaks and weekend trips in Germany and records new visitor numbers every year. Especially among young people, “Hypezig”, as the city is now already called, is extremely popular, attracting more and more students, the housing market is booming.
Leipzig is a lively, interesting city between classical culture and modernity. The historic city center is unusually well preserved and rich in sights, picturesque facades and history. Typical are largely intact streets with houses and villas from the Wilhelminian period. Leipzig is an internationally important city of books and music, famous for Bach and Schiller, for example. But Leipzig also stands for pulsating nightlife and a distinct left-wing scene. Rather insider tips are the many canals and waterways in Leipzig and the many beautiful lakes directly around the city, which are just as interesting for water sports as for relaxing days at the beach.
Tip 1: Monument to the Battle of the Nations
The 91-meter high monument was erected between 1898 and 1913 to commemorate the Liberation Battle of October 16-19, 1813. At that time 190,000 French soldiers under Napoleon’s command faced 127,000 Russians, 89,000 Austrians, 72,000 Prussians and 1800 Swedes (under Karl Prince Schwarzenberg). 84,000 soldiers lost their lives in the battle. Napoleon was forced back by the allied army from Dresden to Leipzig. There the Battle of the Nations took place, which was to be the decisive battle of the Autumn Campaign of the Wars of Liberation. It was the first mass battle of modern times. On October 19, 1813, Leipzig was captured and King Frederick August of Saxony was taken prisoner. Napoleon escaped in the Allied victory.
In 1913, the Monument to the Battle of the Nations was inaugurated by Emperor Wilhelm II in the presence of the King of Saxony and other princes of German states, as well as representatives of Austria, Russia and Sweden.
The city’s landmark, visible from afar, stands on the spot where Napoleon had his command post on October 18, 1813. A weight of about 300,000 tons rests on the concrete pillars on which the memorial mound is heaped. In front of the memorial, a water basin was created to symbolize the tears of the peoples who mourned the victims of the battle. The interior hall, 68 meters high, is divided into three levels. The first level is a crypt commemorating the fallen. On the second level one finds a hall of fame for the German people and above it is the domed hall.
The monumental building was executed by Clemens Thieme. The designs came from the Berlin architect Bruno Schmitz. The figures, each representing a character trait, were made in part by the sculptor Christian Behrens from Wroclaw. After climbing 500 steps, you can enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of Leipzig and the surrounding area from the platform.
Tip 2: Augustus Square
Some of the city’s most imposing buildings are gathered on this square and bear witness to Leipzig’s rich history. Here, for example, is the Opera House, built in 1960 and partially restored in 2007 in accordance with the preservation order.
Directly in front of the Mendebrunnen, a monumental building from the end of the 19th century, stands the Gewandhaus – probably the most prominent sight on Augustusplatz. It is the only concert hall that was newly built in the GDR. Since its opening in 1981, it has hosted around 700 cultural, musical and dramatic events, as well as conferences and congresses, every year.
Tip 3: Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall is one of the most important secular buildings in Germany from the Renaissance period. It was built in the 13th century and was repeatedly extended and rebuilt in later centuries. Until the end of the 19th century, it housed the city fathers and was also a court and prison for a time. In 1905 it became a museum and Leipzig was governed from the larger New Town Hall.
The market in front of the Old Town Hall is the center of the city center. In the Middle Ages, there were jousting matches and public executions here. Later it was Saxony’s busiest trading place. Today, various major events are held on the square and the Leipzig Christmas Market is set up.
Tip 4: Leipzig Panometer
A visit to the Panometer is truly a special experience. The round building serves as an exhibition space of the artist Yadegar Asisi, who grew up in Leipzig. The concept of this museum is quite extraordinary: visitors are introduced to topics and places that are far from our everyday, spatial imagination with oversized 360-degree panoramic images. In his first exhibition “Everest,” for example, Asisi made it possible to experience the magical world of the Himalayas with huge images and sound effects.
Tip 5: St. Thomas Church
St. Thomas Church was built in 1212 on the foundations of a Romanesque predecessor church as a collegiate church of the Augustinians. The church building that exists today is a Gothic hall church that was essentially built at the end of the 15th century.
In its eventful history, the church served, among other things, as an ammunition depot during the wars of liberation in the 19th century and as a military hospital during the Battle of the Nations in 1813. The church owes its fame to the long-time church cantor Johann Sebastian Bach and the St. Thomas Boys Choir, which has its home here. In 1950, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Bach’s death, the great musician’s bones were moved from the Johannis cemetery to St. Thomas Church.
The outer appearance of the building is particularly impressive due to the extremely steep gable roof of the nave and the asymmetrically arranged 68 meter high tower. Inside the church, an imposing reticulated vault covers the three-nave hall. A winged altar from the 15th century and an alabaster baptismal font from 1614/15 are part of the interior decoration worth seeing.